Each year in the U.S., one in four people over 65 experiences a fall. It’s a common problem and can lead to a loss of independence, hospitalization, lack of confidence, and in some cases death. Avoiding falls in the first place is a vital aspect of living independently. Here’s how to prevent accidents in the home and make living independently a positive experience:

  • Assess your living space. A few simple adjustments can mean the difference between falling and living independently safely. Is there a phone within easy reach? Are there rugs on a polished floor surface? How easy is it to get around your room? Is clutter posing a hazard? Do you need better lighting?
  • Make your floors as safe as possible. Invest in anti-slip tiles for bathrooms and kitchens to avoid sliding on water spillages or polished surfaces. Make sure any rugs have anti-slip fixtures underneath to avoid slipping across the floor. Consider a contrasting color for steps and rails to make them easier to see. Since your feet spend so much time on the floor, make sure you have well-fitting shoes and slippers. Avoid flip-flops and flimsy footwear as these easily lead to trips and slips.
  • Lighting equipped with sensors to come on when movement is detected is very helpful for stairs and bathrooms, or any room, really. Amber-colored night lights help you see at night.
  • Having a handrail in all high-risk places, such as the shower or stairway, is an easy adjustment to prevent falls.
  • Gardens are full of hazards, so make sure your green space is as safe as possible. Clear moss and old leaves from the paths to minimize the risk of slippery spaces. When its icy, make sure you lay some grit and have someone clear your paths. Avoid too many pots and ornaments, as they are easy to trip over. Install lighting so you can see in the dark. Remember that you don’t have to do all the work in the garden or house yourself; you can get help from others to do the heavier jobs, which lessens your risk of falling.
  • Remove clutter from steps and floors. And avoid trailing wires when using electrical items.
  • Keep things within reach. Don’t stretch or balance on step ladders to get things on high shelves or awkward places. Avoid carrying too much at one time, as this can set you off balance, resulting in a fall.
  • Practice balance and posture. Join a Pilates/Yoga class or other exercise programs to help you maintain good balance, core strength and posture techniques. Give yourself time to adjust when moving from a sitting position. This helps you avoid dizziness from changes in blood pressure.

Taking these few easy steps to make your living space safer will help you avoid falls and stay independent for longer in your home.


Lisa Cini, who wrote this article, designs home interiors that improve quality of life for seniors. She’s the author of several books on the subject, including “The Future is Here: Senior Living Reimagined.”

What do people do when they retire?

With the absence of work opening up a large chunk of time, it’s a natural question. Here are 20 possible answers for a fun, meaningful life without 9-to-5 jobs.

Simplify your life.

Simplifying is simply satisfying once you get started. Take the time to declutter and organize all of your belongings.

Spend time with friends and family.

Social bonds are key for not only a happy retirement, but a gratifying life overall. For instance, you can make Tuesdays a night of tacos with friends or choose a day out of the month to go see a new movie.

Get a part-time job, or start a business.

Why exclude yourself from the work field if you enjoy the stimulus, interaction and satisfaction of employment? Consider a part-time job related to your former career or a different area of interest. Or consider starting a business or service. Love kids? Do babysitting. Enjoy baking? Open a small sweets shop.

Volunteer in the community.

Volunteering is meaningful and a way to meet new people and increase social interaction. Animal-rescue centers, food pantries, and parks are all great places to volunteer at.


Take this time to visit the places you have always wanted to go. Examples: The Grand Canyon and other national parks, an Alaskan cruise, or a European tour.

Teach and/or study.

With the wealth of knowledge and wisdom gained over your lifetime thus far, teach others, including at the library and as a tutor. Also, why stop learning? Take a course to master a foreign language, grasp computer skills, and learn new hobbies. A community center is a great way to stay connected to the public by attending free seminars and classes.

Dance or play sports.

Dance is a great way to stay in physical shape and to augment a healthier brain. Join a sports league to for bowling, tennis, pickle ball, softball or soccer. Or participate in leisure sports and activities such as fishing, hiking, running, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, surfing and scuba diving. The emphasis isn’t so much on the activcity, but rather that you remain active and enjoy its participation.

Read and write.

Along with keeping physically active, continuously stimulating the brain has shown to improve cognition and memory. So get a library card and read the bounty of books. You can also write your own. You never know, you could become a best-selling author. And if online is your thing, free blogging platforms allow writing and sharing thoughts with others.

Get spiritual.

Spiritual wellness can bring a sense of meaning, comfort, and purpose, all aspects seniors may feel disconnected from following retirement. Activities that promote spirituality include meditation, yoga, church, and simply getting out in nature.

Get artsy.

Art is a way to stimulate the brain, promote self-expression, and enhance creativity. Get artsy through drawing, painting, sculpting, scrapbooking, woodworking, and other favorite forms of crafting.

Gardening and cooking.

Gardening increases movement in the day. Moreover, being out in nature for even a five minutes has shown to instantaneously boost emotions and feelings of solidarity. Or, dust off the recipe book and prepare those more time-intensive (but oh-so-worth-it) recipes. Have your kids and grandkids join you in the kitchen, along with gifting them with recipe copies to carry on for generations to come.


What are the top 10 cities for empty-nesters/seniors who are thinking about relocating? To answer that question, Move.org, an online resource of information about residential relocations, researched and ranked 400-plus U.S. cities based on migration patterns of people 50 to 65 years old, cost of living, tax-friendliness, average year-round temperature, and distance to the nearest airport. One city in Washington – Walla Walla – came in at number 8. Carson City, Nevada topped the list with, among other positives, a monthly combined cost of $779 for rent and utilities and an average temp of 50 degrees. Read the full report at https://www.move.org/top-cities-for-empty-nesters/

Social Security and Medicare have a few things in common. Both programs help safeguard millions of Americans, as well as improve the quality of life for our family and friends. Although both programs are household names, many people may not be familiar with the details of Medicare.

Medicare is our country’s health insurance program for people 65 or older. The program helps with the cost of healthcare, but it doesn’t cover all medical expenses or the cost of most long-term care. You have choices for how you get Medicare coverage. If you choose to have original Medicare coverage, you can buy a Medicare supplement policy (called Medigap) from a private insurance company to cover some of the costs that Medicare does not.

Medicare has four parts:

  • Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) helps pay for inpatient care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility (following a hospital stay). Part A also pays for some home health care and hospice care.
  • Medicare Part B (medical insurance) helps pay for services from doctors and other healthcare providers, outpatient care, home healthcare, durable medical equipment, and some preventive services.
  • Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) includes all benefits and services covered under Part A and Part B. Some plans include Medicare prescription drug coverage (Medicare Part D) and other extra benefits and services.
  • Medicare Part D (Medicare prescription drug coverage) helps cover the cost of prescription drugs. Some people with limited resources and income may also be able to get extra help with the costs—monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription co-payments—related to a Medicare prescription drug plan. The extra help is estimated to be worth about $4,900 per year. You must meet the resources and income requirement.

Medicare’s different parts are further explained at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10043.pdf.

If you can’t afford to pay your Medicare premiums and other medical costs, you may be able to get help from your state. States offer programs for people eligible for or entitled to Medicare who have low income. Some programs may pay for Medicare premiums, and some pay Medicare deductibles and co-insurance. To qualify, you must have Medicare Part A and limited income and resources.

You can learn more about Medicare, including how to apply for it and get a replacement Medicare card, at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/medicare.


Kirk Larson, who wrote this article, is a public affairs specialist for Social Security.

A bowl of cooked oatmeal is a fine source of fiber .

Cholesterol generally has a poor stigma. But unlike popular belief, the body needs cholesterol. The waxy substance is found in the body’s cells and is required to produce vital hormones along with vitamin D and bile.

Additionally, cholesterol can be further divided into “bad” and “good” cholesterol – “bad” cholesterol, known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL), contributes to plaque build-up on the artery walls, while “good” cholesterol, known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL), helps eliminate the “bad” cholesterol from the body.

The body functions optimally when cholesterol types are maintained within recommended amounts. However, balancing cholesterol is not as simple as discouraging cholesterol from dietary sources. Luckily, food that’s rich in fiber — specifically soluble fiber – or healthy fats is shown to reduce cholesterol. This type of fiber can be thought of as a sponge. When soluble fiber is ingested, it absorbs with water and forms a gel-like substance, ultimately having the ability to bind and excrete cholesterol from the body. Dietary fiber recommendations indicate at least 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men each day.

These 10 foods may lower cholesterol:

  1. Oats

Oats are notoriously known for their fiber content, as one cup of cooked oats supplies four grams of fiber, specifically two grams each of soluble and insoluble fibers.

  1. Beans

Also packed with protein, beans of all types offer significant amounts of soluble fiber.

  1. Apples

An apple a day may keep cholesterol levels at bay. Apples are rich sources of soluble fiber. Don’t skimp out of the peel, as it offers insoluble fiber shown to support digestive health.

  1. Strawberries

Strawberries not only supply soluble fiber, but also powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, a disease in which plaque builds up inside vessel walls. The plaque is largely comprised of cholesterol and fatty substances, and if too much is present, a heart attack or stroke may result.

  1. Fatty fish

Omega-3 fatty acids show great worth when it comes to heart health, as they increase HDL cholesterol levels while reducing triglycerides (or fat in the blood). Mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, salmon, and halibut are suggested to offer the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids.

  1. Walnuts

Walnuts are filled with alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a fat shown to convert to omega-3 fatty acids within the body. Consuming walnuts may reduce total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Additional encouraged nuts include almonds, pecans, and pistachios. Since all nuts are rich in calories, stick to a serving size (an ounce or small handful of nuts).

  1. Vegetable oils

Vegetable oils supply “good” unsaturated fats, including monounsaturated (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). MUFAs and PUFAs improve cholesterol levels and include olive, canola, and sunflower oils.

  1. Avocadoes

Avocadoes are a unique fruit, as they offer healthful fat rather than being saturated in carbohydrate. Avocadoes have been shown to improve LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels.

  1. Whey protein

One of the two milk proteins, the other being casein, may offer more than muscle stimulation and synthesis. In fact, whey supplements can lower LDL and total cholesterol levels.

  1. Plant sterol or stanol-containing foods

Stanols and sterols are plant substances that block the absorption of cholesterol, particularly shown to reduce LDL cholesterol by up to 15 percent. Food commonly fortified with plant stanols and sterols includes orange juice, yogurt, and margarine. just be cautious of trans fats and hydrogenated oils.

Lowering cholesterol levels essentially translates to improved heart health. But doing so is not as simple as cutting out cholesterol-containing egg yolks, like once believed. Lowering total or “bad” cholesterol can be achieved through a healthful diet and foods, but increasing “good” cholesterol is a little trickier. However, partaking in regular physical activity, losing excess weight, and smoking cessation have all been shown to increase HDL cholesterol levels. Additionally, the American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated and trans fat levels to less than 7 and 1 percent of total daily calories, respectively, for improving overall cholesterol levels and reducing heart disease risk.


Source: Silver Cuisine by bistroMD